Saturday, October 25, 2014

California KOM Training

Tough to choose between finishing the cyclocross season and getting a couple epic mountain climbs in California. The training in SoCal would be more suitable for my upcoming adventure in Taiwan.

Even a police officer stopped to fill up with spring water
The always refreshing stop on-route at the North Ogden spring for water. Nice to see all walks of life of people lined up for water.

Poms for my birthday; gathering poms with Jan the neighbour
 At my couchsurfing home in Newbury Park, the neighbour’s pomegranate tree was in full production. I gleefully packed up a bagful when offered them. 
Oh, so luscious red poms!

Went in my 3rd 100-mile Deer Creek Death Ride. Ride put on by local Matt Polk. The local bike shops Newbury Park and Win’s Wheels had feedzone tents on-route.
Start of Deer Creek from PCH - photo DCDR Facebook
After the first hill climb up Decker, a menstrual cramp had me bush bound. Starting back, I played catch up the rest of the way to the first feedzone.
Marg solo up Deer Creek catching up - photo DCDR Facebook
Happy to left the feed zone with Cat 1 rider Dusty and a couple strong riders. This was my first big ride since Haute Route. Every weekend since then has been double-header cross races, with the wicked ERTC hill climb ride on Thursday nights (50 km).

back view up Deer Creek - photo DCDR Facebook
After descending Topanga Canyon, I made my decision climbing epic Fernwood to Stunt Road to avoid a death march to the finish and omit the last 20 mile loop on Piuma (a super nice climb). Good call on my part as I rode back a shortened route with 2 heat-stricken guys. Ride ended up 85 miles 9000’ elevation gain, pretty good training day.

Other epic rides:
Descent from Highland Valley road near Escondido
Desert climb up Montezuma from Borrego Springs
Descent after Gibralter climb out of Santa Barbara
Hwy 33 ride north of Ojai, ocean view to the south
Same ride to the peak of Mt Pinos to the north
View from the spring water trail near Ojai
under the table with Lilly
Halloween in Encinitas to check out the Swami's carved
pumpkins with Barbara.
Many amazing costumes, kids, adults and dogs!

High school friend Patty in Torrance
 with Garrett and Gina (6' 1" grade 11!)
Patty & Marg on Redondo beach
Santa Monica mountains in the background

Sunday, October 12, 2014

2014 Cross Race Summary - Dry

6 days after returning from Haute Route Pyrenees (780 km, 18300m elevation gain in 7 days)… I jumped into a local cyclocross race abit pensive with going from loping mountain climbs to a fast intense pace. It was the first time I was on my cross bike this season.

School of Cross - Heritage Park, Edmonton Sep 13, 2014
Late for the starting line call-ups, I squeezed in the 2nd line. At the start, I was laissez-faire with positioning. Realized not a good thing as I was bottlenecked on the technical sections. On any open sections, I zipped by a few riders when I could. The lead pack was way in front.

Laughing at my surprising come-from-behind race - photo Bill Quinney

With no prep time on the cross bike, I was cornering well. The wicked twisty descents in Europe likely helped with that.

The course was mostly flat with one huge hill climb that was just rideable… both Shantel and young Sidney both powered by me while I was still in Pyrenees mountain-mode.

I slowly reeled in rider after rider on the open section. I was pushing a big gear while standing - definitely Pyrenees fitness coming through. Clawed my way up to 2nd place.

Redbike Red Cross - Heritage Park, Edmonton Sep 14, 2014
Next day, similar course with more twisty turns making it harder to pass. Played safe, and yes, braked down the bumpy descent. 105 lbs gets flinged easily hitting any compression too hard. I made my way to 5th.
Shantel Chantell Pepper Sidney Marg
16-year-old Sidney was exactly my height last season!

Crave Cupcake Cross - Airdrie Sep 20, 2014
Course was tamer than last year on the farm fields around the Airdrie Rodeo grounds, a little more flowy.
Dusty start - photo R Haskell

Reduced my air pressure for the bumpiness which gave a nice plush ride on the pre-ride. Into the 1st loop, my front tire slammed me down when I went around a tight corner… a little too plush! I blamed the tire tread. During the race I was pensive around any corners as I almost went down a few more times with the tire knobs catching.

Gotta be speedy with the strong field. That's the arrrgh grimace! - photo R Haskell

Lead riders Kate Aardal and Sidney McGill (& Shantel Koenig) riding the stairs which few Elite men did - photo R Haskell
Very battling kind of race with trade offs in lead through out. Squeaked in 3rd.

Bici Rodeo Cross - Airdrie Sep 21, 2014
The course was the reverse direction of the Cupcake course. A super strong headwind made for an even tighter race. I kept air pressure low, a little more than I had the previous day - and the tires were fine!
Bumper to bumper from the start, I sprinted for the lead as the front riders could all ride over the stairs and I would have to dismount and run up - photo Masa Higuchi
climbing out of steep pitch - photo Masa Higuchi    
Stuck like glue into the last lap - Alana leading Marg & Sidney
- photo Masa Higuchi
Sprint for the finish - photo Masa Higuchi

Jim Horner Cross - Velodrome, Edmonton Sep 27, 2014
Lost contact early at the start. Heavy grass riding. My 50 cog dragged me down.

Hop 'n Hurl Cross - Velodrome, Edmonton Sep 28, 2014
Swapped to the 44 cog. Reverse course of previous day, now a speedier course despite the headwind. Had a group of 4 into the first lap. Kept in contact.
Order of Marg, Shantel, Pepper and Sidney 
switched up a few times on the course
Shifting to the front chain ring bogged a little slowing me down a few times. I caught up to the 3 riders on the stretch in the tailwind. Shifting bogged at the worst time preventing a challenge for 3rd. Fun action between the 4-some.
Tight squeeze of 4 racers on the steep climb
  - Sidney, Marg, Pepper, Shantel

The Dark Knight Cross
Skipped the Dark Knight race due to bad night vision. Missed the wicked flaming barriers!
Pepper - Ken Anderson Photography    

Bow Cycle Cadence Cross - COP, Calgary Oct 5, 2014
Gotta remember I love this course as it has a lot of climbing from the base of the bobsled track going up. Awesome fast stretches on pavement. Found it a flowy course with enough turning room on the twisty sections.
Cool photo up the steepest pitch - photo R. Haskill    

Provincial Champs - Drie Zussen Superprestige, Canmore Oct 11, 2014
Course was at the bumpy disc golf area, much more flow and long in distance. After chatting to Shantel about practicing pedal clip-in before the start, I did a few when I was warming up.

Shantel leading Marg & Sidney - photo R. Haskill    
At the start, I was ultra-surprised when my foot landed exactly on the pedal… so quickly dashed off in the lead for the hole-shot! First corner was on pavement, then Kate came by. Eventually Sidney and Chantell zipped by before the off-camber upward turn. 

Marcy Kimpton & Christina Hirota with the amazing mountain backdrop - photo R. Haskill
Into the 3rd loop, I got by Chantel and Sidney on the pavement, slowly bridging up to Kate. I was super focused though on a sharp corner, my front brake lever caught the darn white plastic stake. I was slammed down like a wrestler.

Ha, ha, I got the hole-shot beer!!
Got up quickly though lost critical few metres to regain. Last lap, I was leery of the same stake so overshot the turn and fell, doh. Shantel and Alana were in sight behind me. Made it into the finish with no more mishaps.

Provincial Podium - cool scenery - photo R. Haskill    

Pumphouse Cross, Calgary Oct 12, 2014
New course, pre-ride felt boring with open stretches with a few fun off-camber hills at the beginning.
McGill sisters took the lead with Sidney getting the hole-shot, then skidding out on the off-camber corner along with Abby. I managed to squeak by them.

On any straight-away, I sprinted. Coasted on any turns being cautious. It was a tough course to pass on. Abby started out strong and ran by me like a gazelle in the first sandpit section. I zipped by her on the next short power climb.

Gasping for air the whole race - photo R. Haskill
Sidney had bike issues to start. Worked her way back to me and challenged for the lead a few times. It was a full-out tongue hanging kind of race. 

Marg only one step ahead of Sidney - photo R. Haskill    

Sid has nice over shoulder technique. I think I carried over the shoulder all other loops though went with just grabbing the bike for the last dash - photo R. Haskill

1st win of the season!
Nice way to end my 2014 cross season!!